Thank you!There isn't much or no forage and/or grass available in the winter months, so this isn't a good comparison to the question about replacing hay for the winter. I have not looked at how much water content there could be in the multiple species of weeds, bushes, vines, briars, etc a goat could consume with forage, though I doubt the water content would be that high. This much I do know, the hay I provide has about 10% - 12% protein and the calorie content has a high fiber digestibility level. I feed twice as much hay in the winter months than I will be feeding in the coming months. I also know in people, foods like cabbage causes problems with gas, bloating and loose stools. It seems likely cabbage could possibly cause the same to happen with animals consuming it as well.
It's all good, the water content was one of the considering factors for me as well. The small percentage of protein and low fiber content compared to hay make cabbage seem like it pales in comparison. Another consideration was how many heads of cabbage would it take to equal a flake of hay and what other food source would be needed to bump up the roughage enough for a ruminant to make good cuds. Interesting tidbit, cabbage was being praised as a food source for reducing weight. Gosh, I like cabbage though eating it every day sounds so unappealing. Even more gross would be the reaction my own gut would have if I were to eat cabbage daily.
You're welcome. In the winter I have offered small servings of pumpkin, winter squash, evergreen branches, sweet potato, cabbage leaves along with the cores, and garden greens like collards and kale to add a more diverse nutritional content to their diets in addition to the hay. There have been posts about certain types of trees being planted and specifically processed in certain ways to provide roughage in the winter, though that takes planning years in advance and acreage to accomplish. Hay is a mainstay diet especially during the winter months for ruminants and I think they need the type of roughage hay provides to keep the digestive system functioning correctly. I know it is expensive to buy a year supply of hay and start saving for the cost during the winter months. Heck, hay is costly per bale period, though to me, it is the price I have to pay to keep the goats in good body condition and provide warmth from the inside out during the cold spell. Am looking forward to reading other opinions about the cabbage though. It is a thought provoking suggestion and question you offered up.Thank you!
I'm not worried about the space, I'm willing to dedicate a good section of land for a little tree forest and I'm going to try fodder trees when I get my own farm. But I'm picky about what trees I want (evergreen, fast growing, long living) which is making it difficult to find the best fodder variety for my farm, so I'm still on the hunt.Cabbage? No... Brassicas are not fibrous enough and contain insane amounts of calcium. Cabbage and fir trees, maybe. Now romaine, that's a good basic.
The tree thing doesn't take the room or time that most would think. The planting rate is 2500 trees per acre and the first harvest is the second year. It takes 30 trees per small ruminant. You can put that many in a 20 x 30 foot area.
Thanks for this, I would've planted an acre of evergreens otherwise. So, this means I should look more towards deciduous trees for fodder instead?Evergreen does not make tree hay though. All the research has been done as well as the trial and error. Mulberry, black locust, paulownia, ash, willow... these are proven to coppice well and regrow reliably. Black locust also is a nitrogen fixer so planting one about every 30 feet will fertilize the other trees.
I have two quaking aspens that I need to pollard. Remind me in June and I'll take before and after pictures.
Today I am harvesting a hillside worth of ivy hay.